“Just another dreamer.”
“That’s what I thought.”
“How do the seedy bars and parade of questionable sexual partners factor into all of this? That’s another part I still don’t understand.”
“One editor was kind enough to hint that she didn’t find my portrayal of the human condition to be authentic. In response to that, I tried living a tortured experience so that when I finally wrote about it, it would be authentic. There’s an adage about writers writing what they know, and I was merely trying to live up to that.”
“What the fuck is the portrayal of the authentic human condition?” he asked.
I laughed for what felt like an hour. By the end, Matome had joined me and I think I ended up laughing because he was laughing, and he laughed because I was. Then I forgot the question and he had to ask it again. “What does any of that gibberish mean?”
“Don’t look at me,” I answered. “All I know is some people claim that sci-fi and fantasy lack this condition. Hence, according to these critics, sci-fi and fantasy are ‘mindless diatribe.’ And, might I remind you, that’s the kind of diatribe I’m passionate about. Every single story I write ends up as either sci-fi or fantasy. But I was strongly advised to steer my focus away from them. To be ‘real’, ‘authentic’ – to dare explore the ‘human condition.’”
“I don’t even know what diatribe means,” he said, between fits of laughter.
“I don’t think I’m using it correctly,” I confessed, between fits of my own. “But when you’re trying to crack the industry, you have to speak like the powers that be.”
“I know, I know, like the time I started using ‘algorithm’ every time I got the chance.”
“Exactly. And you weren’t even a programmer. It was funny as hell. I remember when you put on your private school accent and said to Shola: ‘Much like my heart, the algorithm of the universe is entering the entropic state of its existence. Thus we must break up, my love.’”
“And he punched me in the face.”
“Because none of the crap you were spewing made sense, and you broke his heart.”